Hammer Readies to Drop on Sen. Bob Menendez, As Co-Defendant Pleads Guilty

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The hammer may be about to drop on Sen. Bob Menendez. 

Appearing at a federal court in New Jersey on Friday, Menendez co-defendant and businessman Jose Uribe pleaded guilty to charges including conspiracy to commit bribery, obstruction of justice, and tax evasion, according to court filings. 

As part of the plea deal, Uribe must “truthfully and completely disclose all information with respect to the activities of himself and others concerning all matters about which this Office inquires of him, which information can be used for any purpose.”

Among the allegations against Uribe include claims he offered Menendez and his wife a Mercedes-Benz convertible, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, gold bars, and other goodies in return for the Senator intervening in a criminal investigation by New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin. 

Menendez, meanwhile, is accused of providing sensitive U.S government information to the Egyptian government and exerting pressure on a U.S. Agriculture Department official to protect one of the country’s largest conglomerates. 

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a press release in September 2023: 

As the grand jury charged, between 2018 and 2022, Senator Menendez and his wife engaged in a corrupt relationship with Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes – three New Jersey businessmen who collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes, including cash, gold, a Mercedes Benz, and other things of value – in exchange for Senator Menendez agreeing to use his power and influence to protect and enrich those businessmen and to benefit the Government of Egypt.  

My Office is firmly committed to rooting out corruption, without fear or favor, and without any regard to partisan politics.  We will continue to do so.

FBI Assistant Director in Charge James Smith said:

The FBI has made investigating public corruption a top priority since our founding — nothing has changed.  The alleged conduct in this conspiracy damages the public’s faith in our system of government and brings undue scorn to the honest and dedicated public servants who carry out their duties on a daily basis. 

To those inclined to use the status of their public office for personal benefit, or those willing to provide bribes in an attempt to gain influence from a public official, the FBI will ensure that you face the consequences in the criminal justice system for your underhanded dealings.

Uribe is not currently in custody after meeting a $1 million personal recognizance bond. Although his crimes carry a maximum of 30 years behind bars, his promise to cooperate means he will probably receive a far lighter sentence. 

Menendez said at the time of the indictment:

Those who believe in justice believe in innocence until proven guilty. I intend to continue to fight for the people of New Jersey with the same success I’ve had for the past five decades. This is the same record of success these very same leaders have lauded all along.

Menendez, who has denied all the allegations and rejected calls for him to resign as a Senator, will go on trial alongside his wife in May. His two other co-defendants, Wael Hana and Fred Daibes, have also pleaded not guilty.

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